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It's not over yet: 2011's big gaming week looms large

Last week's Modern Warfare 3 and Skyrim may have been the season's biggest blockbusters, but 11 major titles release this week, making it the biggest launch period this year. Johnny Cullen reports.

Last week was the most important for the industry so far this year, with Modern Warfare 3 and Skyrim, two of 2011's most anticipated games, releasing three days apart from each other. As confirmed by Chart-Track, the titles brought in a grand sum of £120.8 million, the highest games revenue week ever seen in the UK.

All done for the year? No. In fact, while this week's games don't stand much of a chance in catching last week's revenue, the sheer number of titles from established IPs releasing - with at least 11 making their bow between today and Friday - means we're about to see the year's most packed week. With the holiday season starting in earnest with Thanksgiving next Thursday, 2011's pretty much done after this week, bar the heavyweight Star Wars: The Old Republic on December 20.

Here's what to look for between now and the weekend.

Assassin's Creed: Revelations

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Day: Today (Worldwide)
Platforms: PS3 and 360 (PC version due to release on December 2)

Revelations promises to conclude the story of Ezio and Altair, as Desmond delves further into his ancestors' memories following Brotherhood's ending. Desmond's story won't finish until next year, with the AC's 2012 iteration confirmed by Ubisoft last week.

For all fans of the franchise, this is pretty much a must. Altair and Ezio's conclusion, new gameplay elements (like bomb making and tower defence), an expanded multiplayer and more are all included.

Reviews went live last night.

Halo: Combat Evolved: Anniversary Edition

Developer: 343 Industries
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release Day: Today (Worldwide)
Platform: Xbox 360

It's no coincidence this is coming on the tenth anniversary of the original Xbox's release in the US. The first Halo, a launch title, would later become Microsoft's flagship franchise; Halo 3 was the biggest ever entertainment launch four years ago, bringing in £84 million in its first 24 hours.

Microsoft is celebrating not just ten years of Xbox, but ten years of Halo. Features for AE include a revamped look thanks to Reach's engine, which can also be switched backwards and forwards from the original; minimal Kinect support; special multiplayer maps, that consist of locations in CE (they'll later be released as Reach DLC); and enhanced story elements.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Day: Friday (Europe/UK), Sunday (US)
Platform: Wii

Skyward Sword comes as the Zelda series celebrates its 25th anniversary, a shindig which has already seen the release of Ocarina of Time for 3DS and a symphony orchestra perform some of its finest musical moments in London.

Scores so far have indicated that Skyward is a marvel, another gem for the IP. Buying it seems so obviously obvious, so do that. Then wait for the new 3DS title.

And then wait even further for its arrival on Wii U.

Saints Row: The Third

Developer: Volition
Publisher: THQ
Release Day: Today (US), Friday (Europe/UK)
Platforms: PS3, 360, PC

Rockstar may have only just unveiled a little something called Grand Theft Auto V, but THQ isn't worried. With many people wondering if GTA V's direction may be too serious, Volition latest is about as unserious as it's possible for a game to be.

I played a bit of this in London recently, and can safely assure that the openworld crime threequel really is stupid beyond all belief.

Saints Row: The Third is all about the fun, and taking names while having it. Sign us up.

Need for Speed: The Run

Developer: EA Black Box
Publisher: EA Games
Release Day: Today (US), Friday (Europe/UK)
Platforms: PS3, 360, Wii, PC, 3DS

Need for Speed's been on a rescue course recently.

Last year's Hot Pursuit from Criterion was the pinnacle of the comeback, returning old-school NFS and introducing a new social tool in Autolog, now used as a whole in the NFS series.

But this year's iteration, The Run, has not been met with similar hype to HP. Black Box has brought the series back to its narrative ways, which has a lot of people concerned, and there's talk doing the rounds that the campaign's as little as two hours long.

However, if The Run has one good thing going for it, it's that it's the first title outside DICE to use Frostbite 2. It sure is a looker.

And if that lot isn't enough for you, all of these are also out this week:

  • Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
  • Super Mario 3D Land
  • Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7
  • Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games
  • Disneyland Adventures
  • Rayman Origins

Get spending. It's not over yet, but that turkey's sure starting to smell good.

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